I recently sat down and asked two college graduates this question:
What do you wish your parents would have taught you but didn’t?
Why did I ask them that question? Well, I had this brilliant idea of making a blog post, “What you wish your parents would have taught you before you graduated from high school.”
I wanted input and truthfully, I was thinking they would tell me things like:
I had my pad and pencil ready.
Guess what? They didn’t tell me those things.
They BOTH told me that their parents had not prepared them WHATSOEVER in the realm of sex education and it turned out to be the one area that they needed THE MOST.
I sat back and told them honestly, “I thought you would tell me that you left home without knowing how to do laundry.”
One girl said, “Well, I didn’t know that, either, but I quickly learned. That was easy to learn, actually. It was much more difficult not to know anything about sex.”
I asked them who taught them about sex. “Friends, mostly.”
“Okay, knowing what you know now, what do you wish your parents would have taught you about this area?”
They told me that they wanted their parents to start early. They wanted them to be THE ONES to educate.
How early? From their earliest years.
“I wish my parents would have named the sex organs and called them by their real names. That would have taken the shame out of it for me.”
“Yeah,” the other girl agreed. “I just wanted an open conversation, where we could talk about the beauty and sacredness of our human bodies and sexuality.”
I asked them to expand and this is what I was told, “Well, what little they did say, it was always in the context that sex was bad, something to avoid at all costs.”
The friend agreed, “I learned pretty quickly that sex had a lot of bad things associated with it and my parents did not feel comfortable talking about it so we just didn’t.”
“Okay, so what did they talk to you about? Where was the focus?”
Academics. Grades. Sports. Performance.
They also told me that they wished their parents would have made a bigger deal about electronics and getting everything filtered. They told me that that would have shown them how much their parents cared about them and their willingness to protect them from the bad stuff.
I asked a couple more questions; then they were called to eat breakfast and I was left with my thoughts.
Those girls shook my apple tree. Why? Well, nowadays our home is purified. And our family DOES talk openly about sexual topics. My husband and I intentionally engage with our children.
But the truth of the matter: it wasn’t always that way.
At one point, I was just like those girls’ parents.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to my kids about their sexuality, it was just uncomfortable enough of a topic that I didn’t make the time to bring it up. And there was always something else to occupy our time.
Another part of me wasn’t quite sure WHAT to say or HOW to say it. I also knew that my kids were good. They made good choices. They led strong Catholic lives. My kids served at Mass, they wrote Saint reports at school, they prayed the rosary with us as a family.
Why would I want to bring sexuality and porn prevention into what I clearly saw as the Lives of Some Dang Good Kids?
I knew that I was crushing it as a parent and that was that.
The problem? Well, the fact of the matter: my kids were normal. They were curious. They wanted to know how things worked.
Friends as well as Google became their “go to.” My oldest son Eric had a lot of questions and an unfiltered computer. It was basically open season for him.
I realized all of this when I walked in on my GREAT KID viewing NOT SUCH GREAT STUFF.
Yes, he had found p*rnography. Or maybe it had found him. Either way, it was excruciating to know that I had failed my son on so many levels. I had been naive, yes, but a part of me just didn’t want to engage in that whole arena.
And he had to pay the flippin’ price.
In that difficult stage, I mourned the loss of his innocence and I mourned the loss of me as the “Ideal Parent” that protected my babies.
Eric was the first of EIGHT CHILDREN. I knew that my husband and I had to parent differently.
So we did. One of the most important things we learned: our kids are sexual beings. They deserved to be taught about the inner workings of their bodies by their parents. So we began to learn HOW to talk to our kids.
At the same time, we purified our home.
What does that mean? Well, the internet is awesome. But it has to be respected.
Our kids had too many devices that easily got onto the internet. So we bashed some electronics with a hammer. Not joking.
We sold some. (Turns out, you don’t need that many electronics!)
We found a filtering company that we trusted. We put that on all of our remaining devices.
Was it easy? Yes and no. It took a lot of TIME, more than I expected.
Once we understood some key concepts, we also started TALKING to our KIDS about love, lust, sex and p*rnography.
Do you know what? It felt great, like I was truly helping my child WIN at LIFE!
Now, here’s the crazy thing. My LIFE’S WORK has become about educating proactive parents about these topics. But it took two college graduates to REMIND me, once again, just how important it is for PARENTS to engage in this whole arena.
I think that’s what shocked me the most. I had drifted from my own shore.
Our kids NEED and WANT us to filter electronics. Our kids NEED and WANT us to talk to them about their bodies. They NEED and WANT us to explain sexual matters to them in a way that makes sense, without making it “bad” or “shameful.”
Now, I know that I just threw a BUNCH of things at you….and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and shut down. Stay with me.
If you are thinking, "Where do I even start?" we have a plan for you. Jump into our free tutorial on how to purify your home. It’s a needed first step.
Along with that easy-to-follow free video guide by my son, Eric, you’ll also receive emails with important conversation starters for you and your child to begin discussing some of the meatier topics.
Here’s the link: Not in My House Challenge.
Now, I wish I could say that purifying a home is easy, peasy. The truth: getting filters onto electronics is a process. Yes, Eric is knowledgeable and he will guide you, but it’s gonna take some time. But you can do it.
Most importantly, you’ll know that you are taking the NEEDED first step in Helping your Child Truly Win at Life.
What’s the second step? Well, you need to educate your children and talk with them about all of the topics. We’ll get to that. (Again, we have conversation starters that we will send you once you enroll in this free challenge.)
First things first. Purify your home. Take the challenge: Not in My House!
We are proud of you.
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